SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — A wetsuit, air tank and flippers usually aren’t the preferred attire for carving a pumpkin, but about 30 people required them over the weekend.

Divers from all over western Pennsylvania and as far as West Virginia participated in an underwater pumpkin-carving event Sunday hosted by Freeport-based Scott’s Scuba Service. The event was held at Crusty’s Quarry in Slippery Rock, which the business uses as a training and recreational diving facility.

Scott’s Scuba owner Scott Camerlo said the challenges of carving a pumpkin about 20 feet underwater are their buoyancy and lessened gravity.

“Without gravity, everything is different,” Camerlo said. “You’re very neutral in the water, so even if you try to put pressure with a knife on the pumpkin, you tend to move in the opposite direction.”

The water temperature was in the upper 60s, and there was about 20 to 30 feet of visibility. Many of the divers added weights to their pumpkins in an effort to keep them from floating to the surface.

Hayden Norris of Derry said it was tough to keep the pumpkin down. It was his first time carving underwater.

“It was different,” he said. “You’ve got to hold it down while you’re cutting.”

Bryan Smith of Morgantown said he had to add more weight to his pumpkin to keep it down.

“It was like trying to get a life jacket underwater,” Smith said.

Grant Kirk of Cheswick recently started diving and wanted to try something different.

“This was so much fun,” he said. “It didn’t turn out as hard as I expected it to be.”

There were also plenty of family and friends on the sidelines cheering the divers on.

Mikael Williamson of Ford City was there to support her husband, Matt.

“I’m glad that he loves it,” she said. “It makes me nervous, of course.”

It was a family affair for Freeport residents Brent and Brandy Smith and their 17-year-old son, Garrett.

Garrett carved while his mom videotaped and his dad was there for support.

“We like a challenge,” Brent Smith said.

Worthington resident Russ Walker took a different approach to his pumpkin. Instead of carving off the top to empty the seeds, he left it intact so the stem could serve as the nose on his jack-o’-lantern. He emptied the pumpkin from the bottom and used string and weights to keep it close to him underwater.

He said it wasn’t too difficult and he just enjoys being in the water.

“As long as I’m diving, it doesn’t matter what we’re doing,” he said.

Camerlo said the event is meant to be fun and social. The business has held the event off and on for several years. It also holds an underwater Easter egg hunt in the spring.

“It adds to the social aspect, which is a very important aspect of diving,” Camerlo said. “Divers with divers talking about diving.”


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Information from: Tribune-Review, http://triblive.com